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PFP athlete wins BNBF Welsh Figure competition

Lucy a Precision Fitness & Performance (PFP) member entered her first ‘figure’ competition in July 2011 and won it. She had wanted to do something like this for a long time and after winning has well and truly caught the bug, she competes for the British natural body building federation (BNBF) UK finals in 9 weeks time. I will outline below how she went from compete novice to the Welsh champion in 12 weeks.

To start with Lucy always trains extremely hard, eats reasonably clean and is mentally tough. She is also gifted with good genetics. For example for those that understand Biosignature, her Tricep skin fold started out at 7.2mm and finished at 6.4mm which shows a high testosterone level, this helped her build a lean and strong physique. A ‘drug free’ tricep skin fold site of 6.4mm is exceptional for a female. Even with her natural ability she had to up her game if she was to win so here is roughly what happened:

Biosignature analysis
We did a Biosignature skin fold analysis which enabled us to see where she was storing fat excessively (bear in mind that she was lean to start with). Her main fat storage areas initially were her pecs and hamstrings. This indicated that her estrogen ratios should be targeted (however there can be more to it than this) to optimise her fat loss potential. I won’t go in to a full explanation about the effectiveness of Biosignature analysis but it was a good start point which allowed us to be very specific in our approach to getting her ripped and ready.

As I mentioned before she is naturally lean and her body fat at the outset (according to the Poliquin skin fold soft wear) was 9.4% body fat, lean body mass 58 kg and body weight 64 kg. More details in the table below.

After some head scratching we decided that we would do 2 five week blocks of training with a recovery week in the middle (on week 6). As a strength coach I found it difficult to suss the periodisation plan out initially. Normally the plan is to get athletes to ‘strength peak’ on the day of their event but in this case it was all about looking good, not about the strength aspect (although the 2 often go hand in glove).

We split the initial 5 week block (12 weeks out) as follows:

Day 1 – full body workout, low carb intake.
Day 2 – full body workout, low carb intake.
Day 3 – intervals, low carb intake.
Day 4 – rest and clean carb load.
Day 5 – Split routine (pulling), low carb intake.
Day 6 – Split routine Pressing, low carb intake.
Day 7 – rest.

As you can see this isn’t a lot of training only 5 per week but the quality and difficulty of the workout was severe. No 2 x per day training, it would not have been sustainable.

The week off was spent relaxing and eating but the food remained clean. She was a bit worried about taking this time off but it work in the end as the next 5 week block (5 weeks out) was a step up with 6 x sessions per week as follows:

Day 1 – full body workout and integrated intervals, low carb intake.
Day 2 – full body workout 6 -12 – 24 reps, low carb intake.
Day 3 – continuous barbell complex, and integrated intervals low carb intake.
Day 4 – intervals and longer CV type work (to fully deplete glycogen stores) evening  clean carb loading meal.
Day 5 – Split routine upper body (heavy and low reps), low carb intake.
Day 6 – Split routine lower body (heavy and low reps), low carb intake.
Day 7 – rest.

This was tough, with only one rest day in 7 and the carb / glycogen depletion plan was mentally and physically difficult. Again, we didn’t panic and train excessively. The programs were very taxing and because she is very disciplined and can ‘take the pain’ she was able to avoided the twice per day / cardio mix that often trips people up. We wanted to keep muscle and rip up fat and do it over the period of time we had available. You can also see that she did no long steady state cardio. See blog Run your self ‘fatter’

The final week we had to readjust as she was beginning to loss intensity and training drive and her energy was through the floor (basically I reckon she peaked 5 days out). Therefore we backed off the volume but keep the intensity, reps and weight the same and strictly only did 30 mins work (even if she hadn’t completed the program she had to stop). This worked well and by D Day she was vibrant, ripped and ready.

We depleted glycogen by restricting carbs for the first 4 days of the week then allowed a cheat meal (but only with clean carbs, potato, rice, quinoa and root veg) on the evening of the 4th day. This carb load corresponded with her muscle building split routines on day 5 and 6. Her daily food plan involved setting her alarm to go every 2.5 hours and then to eat. She ate a paleo diet, no processed food at all except a recovery shake after training.

The final 2 weeks was an exciting mix of fish and greens stuff every 3 hours and some olive oil…err nothing else. This was quite tough, but it really worked and the final week saw her lean up dramatically.

As mentioned her Biosignature profile showed that as well as eating a clean paleo diet she would benefit from some supplements. This was a drug free (and tested) competition so we had to ensure all supplements were natural. As well as fish oil and multivitamins which are pretty much the basics she also added the following specifics:

Improve her estrogen ratios DIM, Green tea extract and grape seed extract.

Prior to training on the final 5 week block she took tyrosine, yohimbine and black coffee to aid with catecholamine (adrenaline and noradrenalin) production which helped rip out her more stubborn fat areas (great information from Lyle McDonald on this subject).

During her training she took BCAAs to help hang on to her hard gained muscle as she stripped away the last bit of fat.

After training a recovery shake

At night she took magnesium for a number of reasons but mainly to aid sleep.

My view is that these were not absolutely necessary as her clean diet took care of most issues but they can help if used specifically. I get them easier being a Poliquin Biosignature practitioner so why not hey! As you will see from the table below she actually increased her lean muscle while stripping fat during the final 5 weeks when she commenced the supplementation.

The day prior to the competition she stopped drinking water at 5 pm and only took small sips until she had finished competing. Next time we will start to reduce her intake in a stepped approach earlier in the week.

She struggled with the whole tanning thing and by the end of the competition she had nearly turned green and her tan lotion was streaking badly! This was very frustrating and she was concerned that all her brutal training and discipline may be overlooked because of our inexperience with the damn tanning. Next time we will get a better product!

She is not an extrovert so she found the thought of posing on stage daunting. So she got invaluable help and instruction from Hannah Bryant in Torquay Devon. They worked out a simple, no frills routine that Lucy practised till she had it off to a tee. On the day all the practice paid off as she was able to enjoyed herself rather than worrying about her routine.

Skin folds
We did Biosignature skin fold analysis throughout the period to ensure we kept current and that what we were doing was working. As the table below shows it worked! Her stats were as follows (she is drug free):

12 weeks out 3 weeks out 2 days out Biosignature priority
Body fat % 9.4% 6.3% 5.4% Pec
Lean body mass kgs  58kg  58.2kg  59.6kg  Hamstring
Body weight kgs  64kg  62.5kg  63kgs  Pec

Lucy has just returned from a post competition holiday where she didn’t train at all for a week and ate heartily from an ‘all you can eat buffet’ 3 x daily! Nothing was off limits and she certainly took full advantage of her break, well deserved! She is back to her ‘full on’ training / nutrition plan now and has 9 weeks left till the UK finals. The first thing to do is a Biosignature to find her restart point. The training plan has changed slightly but it in place and the fridge is full of dead stuff and green stuff! 

PS. As a side note, she sometimes suffers from IBS type symptoms and her skin comes up in a rash when she eats rubbish. During her final 5 weeks block where she ate extremely clean she had no such problems. However on the last 2 days of her holiday the rash came back and the bloated belly returned. Crap food raises it ugly head!